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Outside the Gates – 10

Selections from The Cross He Bore, Chapter 10

John 19:17
“And he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called the place of a skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha.”

* * *

To say that Christ suffered outside the camp in order to sanctify the people through his own blood was a stunning statement for Jewish readers (Leviticus 16:27; Hebrews 13:12,13). It was shocking to be told that Christ made his great sacrifice on what they considered unholy ground, outside the camp.

In ancient Israel when a man left the camp he needed ceremonial cleansing before he could return (Leviticus 16:26). How, then, could Christ sanctify his people on unsanctified and profane ground?

* * *
...As in Moses’ day, sin had rendered the camp unholy, so the situation was reversed: inside the camp was unholy, but God’s presence in the temporary sanctuary outside the camp made that place holy. It was sacred because of God’s presence.

...It was fitting and right that the Saviour should offer himself a sacrifice for our sins outside the gates. Now, there is no further need for ‘holy places’ for the worship of God, nor in God’s sight can there be such.

* * *

Christ had to die at Jerusalem, the city of the Word. No other city would have done. It was the only place in the economy of redemption where the Lamb of God could die outside the gates as one accursed of God.

As the priests hustled Christ outside the gates, they ministered, in spite of themselves, to the preparation of the one and final sacrifice for sin. Jerusalem was the only place; the Passover was the only time. ‘For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival’ (1 Corinthians 5:7,8). ‘What remains now,’ says Calvin, ‘is that we eat, not once a year, but continually.’

Outside the gates! An outcast in God’s universe! No resting place, no sanctuary! But not for long. Soon the gates of heaven will swing wide for the warrior Christ.
Lift up your heads, O gates!
And be lifted up, O ancient doors,
That the King of glory may come in.
Psalm 24:7
~ Frederick S. Leahy

More thoughts from Chapter 10


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